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Tuesday, 6 June 2000
Page: 17075


Mr HARDGRAVE (2:13 PM) —I have a question for the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware of recent Queensland government advertisements outlining details of a financial assistance scheme to help first home buyers? Would the Prime Minister advise the House of the background to the scheme and outline the Commonwealth government's involvement in both its instigation and its development?


Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I thank the member for Moreton for that very perceptive question he asked. It occurs against the background of howls of outrage from the Australia Labor Party, reverberating around the country, about the expenditure of government funds to provide information to the Australian public about the introduction of the new measure. It therefore struck me as very interesting when I was handed a pamphlet, which I understand is being paid for by the taxpayers of Queensland and being distributed to all the taxpayers of Queensland by the authority of the Queensland Labor government. I thought, `This cannot be so. It must have been one of those Commonwealth government programs in Queensland of which I was not informed.' But I discover on looking at the material that it says, `Further details can be obtained from the Office of State Revenue.' I can assure you that the Treasurer does not have an Office of State Revenue in Brisbane or in the state of Queensland.

So what we have here is, once again, monumental Labor Party hypocrisy. It is perfectly all right for the Queensland government to advertise and claim as its own a First Home Owners Scheme which was always part of the design of taxation reform. But the difference between this document and our material is that our material is truthful and accurate and this is misleading. This is totally misleading, and it is really offensive. I have read a lot, but when you get a state government led by a Premier who knocked all other premiers out of the way in his enthusiasm to sign the GST deal—



Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition!


Mr HOWARD —If ever I have seen—



Mr SPEAKER —The Leader of the Opposition is defying the chair. The Prime Minister has the call.


Mr HOWARD —If ever I have seen a sunny Queensland face, it was the face of the Premier of Queensland the day he signed that agreement. And well it ought to have been. He is on the record as saying that Queensland has had a wonderful deal and that Queensland is very happy with the goods and services tax. And he knows, because that state will be the first of all of the states of Australia to benefit massively from the introduction of the goods and services tax.

So this document is therefore a little rich, to say the least. Not only have they said it is a great idea and then hypocritically had a swipe at the federal government for the introduction of the GST; then they pretend to the people of Queensland that the First Home Owners Scheme was dreamt up by the Beattie government; that, if it had not been for the Beattie government, there would have been no First Home Owners Scheme. The first time a First Home Owners Scheme was developed in this country was in 1963 by the Menzies government. If there is one side of politics that ought to claim authorship of the First Home Owners Scheme and has been the great promoter of home ownership, it is the Liberal and National parties. To borrow a phrase of my colleague and friend the Treasurer: `Hypocrisy, thy name really is Labor, particularly Beattie Labor.'